- The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has announced a $5 million donation for Zimbabwe’s besieged health sector to help it battle the cholera epidemic and the effects of collapsing health services. The donation comes despite a continued political stalemate over a power sharing deal in the country.
The death toll in the southern African country’s worst ever cholera outbreak is now reported at over 2,000, with over half the estimated 40,000 diagnosed cases in the capital, Harare.
“The cholera outbreak is the tip of the iceberg,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman while visiting Zimbabwe last week.
“The economy in Zimbabwe is crumbling, with the highest inflation rate in the world at 231 million percent,” she said, adding that “over half the population is receiving food aid, health centers have closed and when the school term starts there is no guarantee that there will be enough teachers.”
The disease, which is caused by contaminated food or water, has affected nearly all of Zimbabwe, which has been faced with years of failed harvests, bad governance and hyperinflation, as well as months of political tension after disputed presidential elections in March.
In discussions with President Robert Mugabe and others, Ms Veneman underscored the humanitarian impact on women and children, stressing “more than ever before all stakeholders must put children at the forefront of their collective agenda.”
Ms Veneman also visited a cholera treatment clinic and a care center that is part of a UNICEF supported programme that helps 250,000 orphans and vulnerable children.
UNICEF and its partners have been responding to the emergency, providing vital equipment to cholera treatment centers, as well as 70 per cent of the country’s essential medicines.
Over the next four months it will support the drilling of 100 boreholes in areas in need of water.
Meanwhile, political talks in Zimbabwe which resumed today have seen both the ruling party and the opposition maintaining their earlier stands, with Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC saying they would rather take control of the contested ministries. On the other hand, president Robert Mugabe has said he is giving the MDC the last chance to make up or his is ready to form a new government with or without them.
The fresh talks are the last hope for the SADC leaders together with the mediator, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, to knock in some settlement sense on the waring parties in Zimbabwe.
The powersharing deal signed in 15 September last year, has been stalled mainly on the allocation of key ministries, which the opposition claim Mr Mugabe is trying to keep for his control.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.